Question Time LiveBlog 30th September 2010

Question Time tonight comes from Manchester, which comes from an old Celtic word meaning “shaped like a breast”. As random trivia, the first edition of Top of the Pops was broadcast from a converted church in the city on New Year’s Day 1964.

On the panel we have Grant Shapps, Simon Hughes, Diane Abbott, David Starkey and an actor called Brian Cox (who you will all remember played Daphne Moon’s father in Frasier).

For those playing the Buzzword Bingo, we’ll be playing the Red Ed Rules which means players need only fill in the trades-union sponsored third of their bingo card to win tonight. Bonus points will be awarded for BBC strikes if you are holding a Tory Conference joker. Using the diagonal attacks allowed on the new bingo cards, you’ll see that Liam Fox is an instant win when coupled with Resign and Right Wing. This week, Thatcher with Cuts trumps any combination of Miliband and unelectable.

Returning as well, the LiveBlog will also cover the entertainingly awful This Week, presented by Brillo alongside the sneering and patronising Michael Portillo and the unspeakably terrible failure Oona King.

David Vance, TheEye and David Mosque will be on duty behind the bar here from 10:30pm.

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Fascinating insight into how some BBC employees respond to the views of others. Here’s an alarming item from Toby Young writing in the Telegraph…

“About a week before last night’s documentary about the West London Free School was broadcast, the director asked me if I minded my house number appearing in the film. I said no, but a few minutes later I changed my mind and rang her back. Judging from the reaction among Twitter’s resident lefties, that’s just as well.

“Anyone keen for some direct action against the new free schools (or against Toby Young, personally)?” Tweeted a member of the Socialist Workers Party. Well, yes, in fact, there was. “I don’t think there’s been one person yet on Toby Young’s BBC2 documentary about starting a school that I wouldn’t happily punch to death,” Tweeted Marc Haynes, a disc jockey who works for the BBC. That’s a bit alarming considering that my four children were featured throughout. Do you want to punch my two-year-old to death, Marc?

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Jeremy Bowen sets out to hammer home what the BBC has, for the last sixty years, been persuading us to believe. First he demonstrates that Jewish settlers are deluded fanatics who believe that the
occupiedterritoriesillegalunderinternationallaw have been given to them by God.

Then he spends considerable effort conveying that Palestinians are peace loving victims whose land (Muslim land) has been stolen by religious European and American Jews who habitually spew sewage over it. Olive trees, (lush) are introduced to convey pathos and wrest more sympathy from the listener, who will not be aware that Mahmoud Abbas the so-called moderate partner for peace said recently “I will never allow a single Israeli to live on Palestinian land.”
The BBC sets out to show that the negotiations have been scuppered solely by Israel’s refusal to extend the moratorium on building within Jewish settlements. The BBC deliberately gives the impression that this involves extending Jewish territory and contracting future Palestinian territory, when the truth tells quite a different story.

The anomaly regarding the religious connection to the area, (apparently ridiculous when expressed by Jews, but acceptable and incontrovertible when applied to Muslims) doesn’t seem to have struck the BBC.
Bowen portrays the Palestinians as if they were a genteel team from an English village protest group in a tussle with some fanatical Jewish zealots, armed to the teeth and bristling with aggression, over a bit of stolen property, when the reality is nearly the reverse of that. Their David is really Goliath, and their Goliath is radical Islam.

The BBC doesn’t want us to think of Israel as a liberal westernised democracy whose struggle for survival is seriously threatened by followers of Islam with its attendant duplicity and inherent antisemitism; not to mention being surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy and vilified by the BBC and therefore the rest of the world.

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Today’s a bit of a red-letter day in that the Royal Society – the BBC’s favourite bunch of warmist zealots – has been forced by its members to modify its predictions about climate change so that it now says, according to today’s Times:

“The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty.”

Nothing so far on the BBC website about this, but Richard Black ploughs on relentlessly in his warmist furrow. This morning, he reports another of the endless stream of alarmist features in Nature, this one about “water security”, another greenie obsession. From my reading, the article itself does not mention much about climate change, concentrating instead on pollution. But have no fear, our non-scientist Richard is determined to put his own spin on things, so he turns to the world’s most alarmist organisation, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, despite the fact that – as he himself acknowledges – they had nothing to do with the report or the research it is allegedly based upon. This is what they say, with wearying predictability:

“Climate change is going to affect the amount of water that comes in as precipitation; and if you overlay that on an already stressed population, we’re rolling the dice.”

With Alice in Wonderland erudition and sophistication like that, you can really tell where the BBC’s £1bn a year expenditure on broadcast journalism is going.

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Interesting article here suggesting that it is time that the BBC was sold off. I agree in fact it is long overdue. We need rid of this parasitical monstrosity.

But the wider consequences of selling off the BBC in its current bloated form would be even more beneficial than the obvious economic gains. The BBC has come to dominate political and social discourse to a degree that chokes off rational discussion. This is not just to do with its soft-liberal, politically-correct outlook and editorial line, though it is certainly that. The very existence of a dominant national broadcaster, whatever its outlook, stifles debate on anything contentious or unsettling to vested interests. The BBC is particularly unwilling to question the existence or direction of other bloated British institutions, such as the NHS or the education system, both enormously expensive and inefficient. It defaults to the idea that if there is a problem, then government should fix it. More widespread and open debate than we have had for decades would lead to a dynamic Britain, more of whose citizens would expect to work to cope with personal and national challenges.

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Double Standards

Check out Laura Trevelyan’s hard hitting investigation about Ground Zero Mosque developer Sharif El-Gamal.

Sorry, did I say “hard hitting investigation”? I meant “credulous, predictable piece of propaganda”.

Unsurprisingly Trevelyan neglects to mention this recent news:

Sharif El-Gamal, who runs the real estate firm Soho Properties and is heading the project two blocks from Ground Zero, was slapped with eviction proceedings last month after tallying up $39,000 in back rent, a Manhattan Housing Court filing shows…
It’s not the first time El-Gamal’s company has fallen behind in rent.
Royal Crospin sued Soho Properties last year for nearly $89,000 in back rent. El-Gamal’s firm paid $56,000 to settle.

How unlike Katie Connolly’s profile of Christine O’Donnell which included these nudge-nudge, passive aggressive nuggets of information:

In 2008 she defaulted on her mortgage and in 2010 the US government filed a claim stating that she owed more than $10,000 (£6,430) in back taxes and penalties. She has said this was a mistake, and a computer error…
Accusations that she inappropriately used campaign funds – to pay her rent, for example – have also surfaced.

The GZM developer gets the full sympathetic spin. The Tea Party “witch” gets the full load dumped on her.

And while I’m on the subject, does anybody recall the BBC covering this story in July?

Election watchdogs have directed Joe Biden’s 2008 presidential campaign to pay the U.S. Treasury more than $219,000 to resolve issues caused by sloppy bookkeeping and accepting excessive contributions, including a discounted flight on a private jet.

The audit was released Friday by the Federal Election Commission.

It determined that the Biden campaign accepted an improper corporate contribution in the form of a round-trip flight between New Hampshire and Iowa in June 2007 for three people. The Biden campaign paid GEH Air Transportation $7,911 for the first-class airfare, but regulators say the campaign should have paid the charter rate of $34,800.

The FEC also found that the Biden campaign could not document repaying at least $106,000 in donations that were over the limit, and the campaign was ordered to pay the U.S. Treasury more than $85,000 for stale-dated checks.

The Biden campaign also failed to disclose more than $3.7 million in payments and roughly $870,000 in debts.

A bit more substantial than O’Donnell’s $10,000, and yet I can’t seem to find it mentioned on the BBC website. They did find space for this Biden story in the same month, though. I’m sure it’s nothing to do with the fact that Katty Kay’s good friend and co-author Claire Shipman is the wife of the Vice President’s chief spin doctor.

Update 19:45. Here’s Michelle Malkin on the double standards over O’Donnell’s financial problems.

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Bill Clinton paid a flying visit to Northern Ireland today and the BBC was all over the event, fawning over him, inviting people to come on the air and “share memories” of the last time he came here. I have to say that the lack of any objectivity over this visit has been shocking, if not surprising, with the BBC in Northern Ireland showing themselves as hapless lickspittles. I wonder if George W Bush came would we have the same sycophantic chorus?

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If there’s a green story, you can rely on the BBC to take the most alarmist line, and then exaggerate further. David Shukman is at it again here; reporting without qualification of the faintest whiff of doubt fears that scientists think that 20% of plant species are “at risk”. His source for the scare is International Union for the Conservation of Nature, a neutral-sounding body that actually is made up of climate change zealots. If you doubt me, look here. The solution, of course, is to ban the burning of fossil fuels, to impose more green taxes and have a world government under Ban-Ki-Moon and his henchmen.

What Mr Shukman carefully doesn’t mention is that there are many scientists who believe that such reports are a load of tosh. Stephen Budiansky’s blog cogently shows why here; the whole biodiversity movement, which Mr Shukman is so stridently publicising, is built on pillars of sand.

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Core Issues

I see Robin Shepherd has commented on Paul Reynolds’s “Core Issues” page on the BBC website. H/T David Jones, previous open thread.
I had a pop at this the other day on DV’s “Build” thread.

Robin Shepherd belies his own utterance, that there’s nothing especially dramatic to complain about, by saying that Paul Reynolds fails to recognise the ultimate core issue which is “the refusal of the Palestinian side to internalise the existence of the state of Israel as a legitimate nation in the world and to accept that Jews have a legitimate claim to their land in the Middle East. “

Seeing as ‘ow the BBC article is entitled “Core Issues” – and the very thing that IS the core issue is omitted, I’d have thought that was fairly dramatic. But not to worry.
What I am focusing on in this post is the slippery nature of the BBC’s bias. Of course its bias is not going to be visible to the naked eye! It’s recognisable only by those who are willing to put on the spectacles that necessary to correct their acute myopia.

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Anyone read Mark Mardell’s latest blog entry here? It seems that our Mark, once so to the fore in propagandising for the Obamessiah, is now starting to worry that things might turn out too well for The One.

John Podesta (head of Obama’s transition team and former Clinton chief of staff) “compared Obama to Spock from Star Trek. … Podesta was not sure Obama felt anything, especially in his gut. He intellectualized and then charted the path forward, essentially picking up the emotions of others and translating them into ideas” It is rarely good for a politician to lack gut instincts. But at the moment it is the president who needs a good translator, to turn his his ideas into emotion that inspires others.

I love the way Mardell turns to the New York Times as his source for evaluating how well things are going for the White House but even the left-leaning Times is now gunning for Obama. The Mid-terms are going prove very turbulent for Obama and his media sooth-sayers. Tough times for Marky ahead..
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BBC fixated on Red Ed all day and his “triumphant” speech at the Labour conference. Look at the slide show the BBC is running here on their main news portal. Smiling faces, entranced photogenic fans smiling at the dear leader, and, of course, the sheer joy they fell when Red Ed puts the boot into former Comrades Blair and Brown. Today is day zero, mark it.

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Wake up Call

For those without the patience to plough through long posts on B-BBC, I urge you to make one special effort to read this terrific sermon brought to us by Phyllis Chesler.
Everyone, especially the appeasing BBC should read Rabbi Lewis’s words. Every single one.

Barry Rubin summed it up succinctly here:

“We ought to have called on you before, and I beg your pardon for intruding now in this informal way, but your house is on fire.”

Yes, freedom of speech stops at a boundary of shouting “fire!” in a crowded theatre. But when there actually is a fire, that’s where it must start.

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Hey folks – this is RED ED day on the BBC and anyone who has had the misfortune top listen in to the dreadfully biased Today programme will already know it. All morning we have had breathless commentary from the BBC with each presenter trying to outdo the other on how fawning they can be towards  Ed “I’m my own man” Miliband (sponsored by Derek Simpson). EVEN Thought for the Day suggested a Biblical blessing on the brothers Miliband. I also love the way the BBC seek to sanitise Red Ed’s attitude towards the free market, with all reference to his rabidly marxist father’s influence carefully air-brushed out it. Kim Jung il would be proud of the BBC just as I’m ashamed by it.

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Today Editor: Twitter Main Source For Stories

Nicholas Jones, former BBC political correspondent, recounting a Royal Television Society event held in June:

Ceri Thomas said the political blogosphere had a resonance in Westminster but it did not have a great purchase outside Westminster.  But the Today programme now realised the importance of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. ‘I get more story ideas from Twitter than from anywhere else… it has become the single most useful way to get information although that was not the case during the general election’.

Out: if it bleeds, it leads. In: if the luvvies tweet it, Today will repeat it.

Where once BBC editors would have to wait until the next dinner party to hear the bleeding-heart concerns of like-minded media types, now it’s all instant – news determined by the daily fancies of the right-on metropolitan echo chamber. Same as it ever was, only more so.

(Luckily for the Today programme Stephen Fry hasn’t expressed an opinion on the dropping of the New Black Panther voter intimidation case.)

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